Toffee with Chocolate, Almonds and Pecans

Toffee time! Which means I get to share with you my mother-in-law’s famous homemade toffee recipe! This is my favorite treat to make for the holidays because not only is it super easy, makes fabulous gifts because it makes a large quantity, stores beautifully and you don’t have to roll individual cookies!    

Toffee with Chocolate, Almonds and Pecans stacked up tall.


Homemade Toffee Recipe

When I posted my Toffee Pecan Caramel Pound Cake back in April as my third dessert recipe post ever, I mentioned how my my mother-in-law gifts us her famous toffee every Christmas.  I got almost as many requests for her toffee recipe as comments on my pound cake! With good reason. A reliable, delicious, English toffee recipe is hard to come by and this toffee isn’t just delicious, it’s its so addictively delicious you should add warning labels to all your gift tags.

To my mother-in-law’s already delectable toffee, I added a chocolate layer on top along with crushed pecans, so now we have a base of toasted almonds with chocolate chips dusted with cinnamon, smothered in buttery toffee, coated in chocolate sprinkled with pecans.  If you are not a toffee addict yet, this will make one out of you.

I honestly never wanted to learn how to make toffee because I knew I would eat it all — every time. Not many desserts do that to me. This toffee does.  I finally decided it was time to make toffee for Christmas gifts and had fabulous intentions of gifting this toffee to neighbors and friends, but I ended up gifting it to myself. Patrick’s been wondering what to get me.  I’ll just let him know I’m set.

So now I just need to carve out 20 minutes to make more toffee. Yes, 20 minutes, that’s all it takes. (Update – these pictures show cinnamon chips on the base but when I made the toffee again, I used chocolate chips on the base and sprinkled cinnamon on top and found this was the best combination ever.)

Side view of Toffee with Chocolate, Almonds and Pecans stacked up tall.

Homemade Toffee Ingredients

This truly is such an easy toffee recipe! You need just a handful of ingredients to make it:

  • Almonds: You want to chop up whole raw almonds for this recipe.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips: If you don’t have any chocolate chips, I’m sure a chopped up chocolate bar will work too.
  • Cinnamon: Just 1 teaspoons adds a little something-something to this English toffee recipe.
  • Salted butter: You want to use salted butter for this toffee recipe to help balance out all the sweetness.
  • Corn syrup: No other syrup can be used here.
  • Salt: Just a little salt balances out the sweetness from the sugar and corn syrup.
  • Granulated sugar: Don’t alter the sugar amount, otherwise your homemade toffee might not turn out right.
  • Water: Mixes with the butter, sugar, and corn syrup to make the toffee base.
  • Pecans: Chop these up and have them on hand before beginning the recipe.

Ingredient Variations

When making homemade candy, it’s crucial that you use the exact ingredients called for in this recipe. As such, you can’t really make any substitutions.

  • You need to use REAL butter, not margarine or another butter alternative.
  • Granulated sugar is essential when making homemade toffee. A sugar substitute, like Stevia, won’t work here.
  • The corn syrup works as a crystal inhibitor and doesn’t burn at high temperatures. You can experiment with the other syrups, but I’m afraid the toffee won’t turn out.
Toffee with Chocolate, Almonds and Pecans on a white plate.

How to Make Toffee

First, you toast your almonds, sprinkle with chocolate chips, then boil your butter, water, sugar, and corn syrup together (yes, corn syrup, it is needed for Marcia’s famous toffee and there is no substitute – because after all this toffee already has a pound of butter — it was never going to be healthy) until your thermometer reads 300F and then pour this toffee mixture over the almonds/chocolate chips.

Next, sprinkle the toffee with chocolate chips that you let sit 1 minute then smear across the toffee then sprinkle with chopped pecans.

That’s it! Seriously, so simple. The hardest part is having the patience to stir the butter/sugar/syrup for 12-16 whole minutes. I actually set up my laptop and was watching The Voice while I stirred. Then I didn’t need any patience, then there was nothing remotely hard about it…except not eating it all.  Fail.

After the toffee cools, you have what tastes like professional candy store toffee bursting with toasted almonds and cinnamon sprinkled chocolate chips all smothered with more chocolate. You are definitely going to want to deliver this toffee ASAP or you will eat it all — Merry Christmas — to you!  And Merry Christmas to all your family, friends and neighbors — on the second batch.

Showing how to make Toffee with Chocolate, Almonds and Pecans by showing the layers in the toffee.

Tips for Making the Best Toffee

  • Prep the ingredients. Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before starting this recipe. The homemade toffee comes together quickly, and you can’t leave your pot of boiling candy once it’s on the stove.
  • Use a candy thermometer. Homemade toffee is seriously the easiest and quickest dessert to whip up and perfect for gifting if you have a candy thermometer.  You should be able to pick up a candy thermometer anywhere and then this toffee becomes fool proof.  Before I made this toffee, I looked at a lot of other popular toffee recipes and the most common complaints/comments were the butter separating or the toffee not hardening.  That can all be solved with a candy thermometer, which ensures your toffee reaches just the right temperature every time and comes out perfect every time.
  • Don’t tweak the ingredient measurements. Toffee isn’t meant to be a healthy treat, so just roll with it. If you try to scale back the amount of butter, sugar, etc. in this almond toffee recipe, you may wind up ruining the whole batch.
Extreme close up of English Toffee with Chocolate, Almonds and Pecans showing nuts and toffee.

Homemade Toffee Variations

I know I said not to tweak any of the ingredients … but I lied. Only a little!

  • Use different nuts. I love this homemade toffee with pecans and almonds, but you can use really any nuts you want.
  • Use different chocolate chips. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, but dark or even milk chocolate chips will work too.
  • Make it sweet and salty. For an added salty-sweet flavor, sprinkle the toffee with sea salt.

How to Store Toffee

This homemade toffee will keep up to 2 months in an airtight container at room temperature.

Can I Freeze Toffee? 

Yes! Simply seal inside a freezer bag, squeeze out any extra air, and then freeze for up to 6 months.

Side view of homemade Toffee with Chocolate, Almonds and Pecans stacked up tall showing all the layers.

Looking for Christmas Dessert Recipes? 

Easy Homemade Toffee

My Mother-in-laws famous homemade toffee recipe! Toffee slathered with chocolate, sprinkled with crushed pecans on a bed of toasted almonds.  If you are not a toffee addict yet, this will make one out of you. Toffee is my favorite treat to make for the holidays because not only is it super easy, makes fabulous gifts because it makes a large quantity, stores beautifully and you don’t have to roll individual cookies!    
Servings: 12
Total Time: 20 minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

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  • 1 1/2 cups almonds, roughly chopped
  • 3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pound salted butter (4 sticks butter)
  • 1/4 cup Karo corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped (have these ready before you start)


  • Line a half baking sheet (18×13) with parchment paper or aluminum oil. Add almonds and spread out evenly. Roast in the oven at 350F degrees for 5 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup chocolate chips then sprinkle with cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In a stock pot (NOT a saucepan or it will overflow), add the butter, corn syrup, salt, sugar and water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer at medium high heat, stirring CONSTANTLY for 12-16 minutes until temperature reaches 300F degrees on your candy thermometer. Watch the temperature carefully as it approaches 275 for it will turn very quickly and you don’t want it to burn.
  • As soon as the toffee temperature reaches 300F degrees, pour over the prepared almonds/chocolate chips and immediately spread out evenly with a spatula.
  • Immediately sprinkle with remaining 2 cups chocolate chips; let stand 1-2 minutes until chips are soft enough to spread, then spread chocolate evenly over toffee until smooth. Immediately sprinkle with chopped pecans.
  • Let toffee cool until hardened then break into pieces.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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  1. Justine says

    I have been looking for a good toffee recipe and this one is the best I have ever tried! Must be all that butter 🙂 I can’t wait to make it again! Thank you!

    • Jen says

      Hi Justine, you are most welcome! Agreed, must be all that butter 🙂 Thank you for letting me know you found your “best” toffee recipe, that makes my day!

  2. lemonowl says

    Do you have to use corn syrup?

    • Jen says

      Yes, corn syrup is essential in this candy making – it won’t be the same without it!

      • Bonita says

        Any other syrup?
        Bakery malt syrup?

        • Jen says

          Hi Bonita, Candy making is one of the few times you really don’t want to use another syrup as the corn syrup works as a crystal inhibitor and doesn’t burn at high temperatures. You can experiment with the other syrups but I’m afraid the toffee won’t turn out.

        • Colleen says

          What size pan? 15 x10?

          • Jen says

            Great question, I will clarify in the recipe. It is a normal half sheet pan: 18×13.

    • Lisa Lees says

      Is the finished product chewy or crunchy?

  3. Rebecca says

    Do you use semi-sweet chips? Could you use dark chocolate chips on one layer or both? And do you ever sprinkle a little course sea salt on top? Looking forward to trying this!

    • Jen says

      Hi Rebecca, I use semi-sweet chocolate but you could definitely use darker chocolate if that is your preference- totally up to you! I think coarse sea salt would be delicious but I would eliminate the 1/2 teaspoon salt in the recipe if you do that 🙂 Enjoy!

  4. Tifffiney says

    Are the sliced almonds too thin? Worried that they’ll burn in the first step…

    • Jen says

      Hi there, I would use roughly chopped almonds so they don’t born and have a better crunch.

  5. Brenda Vaughn says

    Thank you for the toffee recipe..I will do it again our first attempt was successful& delicious!! Mine had always separated from butter..this was great!

    • Jen says

      Awesome Brenda, I’m so happy it was a success, thank you so much! Merry Christmas!